COLORADO: THE SHORT END OF THE FAT STICK
by Todd Hartley
The good news is that for at least the 16th year in a row, Colorado was named the least obese state in the country, with just 19.1 percent of the population having a body mass index of 30 or more. That makes Colorado, if I’m reading the data correctly, the only place in America where less than one out of every five people is a grotesque fat slob. Way to go, gang! Give yourselves a hand.
Now, if you’re anything like me, you have no idea what “body mass index” means, so let me see if I can sum it up for you. Essentially, BMI, an equation first dreamed up in Belgium in 1832, is a number derived from dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters.
However, if you’re like me you also have no idea what kilograms and meters are — and you’re pretty bad at math — so the above description of BMI does nothing for you. In any event, the bottom line with BMI, just like golf, is pretty easy to comprehend: High scores are bad. A score of 30, for example, equates to a 5-foot-4 person being 30 pounds overweight.
That’s pretty gross, I know, but at least here in the Rocky Mountain State we can take solace from the fact that we’re not Mississippi, the nation’s fattest state, where better than one out of every three people is considered obese. As if you needed another reason not to go there.
Of course, to be fair, I should probably refrain from using the word “we” when I talk about Colorado, as I’m not exactly helping the cause. You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 462 pounds. (Bear in mind that muscle weighs more than fat. I’m just sayin’.)
I was in the 205 range as recently as last week, but then I had the brunch buffet at The Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs on Sunday, and things got a little out of hand. Suffice it to say that you couldn’t possibly sample everything they were serving up, but I gave it one hell of a try. Thankfully, the doors to the dining room were large enough to accommodate the forklift needed to cart me back to my room.
All of which brings me, at long last, to the bad news. Because while Colorado is the only state where less than 20 percent of the population have body mass indexes below 30, its rate of fat people is increasing faster than the rate of fatties in the nation as a whole. I’ll shoulder some of the blame for that, but clearly I’m not alone.
Allow me to explain: In 1995, Colorado’s obesity rate was 10.1 percent, and the national obesity rate was 15.9 percent. By 2009, however, Colorado’s rate had nearly doubled, to 19.1, while the national rate had only gone up about 69 percent, to 26.9. Also, as of 2007, Colorado was in the middle of the pack in child obesity rates, so we may soon be getting even fatter.
So what can we do to combat the scourge of obesity and ensure that Colorado will continue to be the leanest state in the U.S.? The simple answer would be to eat less and exercise more, but I think it’s safe to say that’s never going to happen. That is, if you’re anything like me. Fortunately, though, I have another plan that’s so stupid it just might work.
It seems there’s a man in North Danville, Vt., Galen Dively III, who recently invented a toaster that sears an image of Jesus Christ onto ordinary pieces of bread. (Go ahead and kick yourself for not coming up with that idea yourself, and then we’ll move on.)
How can this help you, a Coloradan looking to lose weight? Well, if you’re Catholic it won’t work so well, given the whole “eating the body of Christ” stuff you all are so into, but for the rest of us it will keep us from overindulging on bread.
Sure, you may be tempted to devour the Jesus toast, but when you’re reminded that a woman once sold a half-eaten grilled cheese bearing an image of the Virgin Mary on eBay for $28,000, I think you’ll be willing to sell your toast and go hungry.